Goals and Progress

Aimed at discovering a cure for spinal cord injury


The TJ Atchison Spinal Cord Injury Research Program is dedicated to improving knowledge about spinal cord injury and promotes discoveries of treatments and cure for spinal cord injury.

Our goal is to promote novel research approaches, encourage collaboration, raise awareness of spinal cord injury research at UAB, and attract new investigators into the field. To accomplish these goals, we have established two components of the TJ Atchison Spinal Cord Injury Research Program.

We have established two Core Laboratories. The Cores allow for the rapid translation of ideas into research by making it possible for any scientist with a novel idea to undertake experiments in well-developed models. The Core Laboratories have state-of-the-art equipment, animal facilities, dedicated laboratory space, and highly trained technical personnel dedicated to spinal cord injury research. 

Discovery Core

  • Encourages collaboration and provides technical expertise for all UAB researchers
  • Enables researchers from outside of the field to conduct ground breaking pilot research in spinal cord injury
  • 7 new studies have already been initiated, all with investigators outside of the field of spinal cord injury
  • New Facilities: Walace Toumor Institute including:
    • Surgery suite
    • Behavior Testing Facility
    • Biomarker Analysis: Plate Reader Li-Cor, Chryostat
  • New Scientists:
    • Dr. Betty Pat: Research Associate, SCI Lab Manager; Papua New Guinea
    • Dr. lonnie Schneider: Postdoctoral Fellow, Porcine Lab Concentration; Denver, CO
    • Kate Odom: Anaminal Health Technician
    • Desiree Stewart: Graduate Student in Pathobiology and Molecular Medicine, Howard Hughes Medical Institute Student
    • Amanda Mohaimany-Aponte: Graduate Student in Pathobiology and Molecular Medicine, Howard Hughes Mecial Institute Student 

Translational Core

  • Developing a clinically relevant contusion injury model in Yucatan Mini Pigs
  • Discovery of novel treatments for acute and chronic spinal cord injury 
  • Only porcine lab in the US, a collaboration with Brian Kwon MD, University of British Colombia 
  • Initiated seminal research study to evaluate sex differences in injury pathology in procine model
  • Initiated new collaborations with nine other investigators